Andrés Agudelo is one of our opera studio tenors who is singing the role of Wilhelm Meister in the recent production of Mignon, staged by Christiane Lutz. In this article he writes about the ups and downs of traveling the world as an opera singer and what making a journey means to him.
On the road with Andrés Agudelo
Travelling plays a very important role in the life of the young Wilhelm Meister – it’s actually the drive behind his own story. The decision to live a life away from his family's limits and his comfort zone, and the never-ending desire to seek happiness and fulfil his vocation, despite the twists and turns that might appear along the way.
I have to say that I can easily relate to this story, because I've actually experienced a similar path myself (with the tiny difference of not coming from a wealthy family, lol). I've lived in seven different cities and four different countries over the past thirteen years, searching for experiences and education to fulfil my dream of becoming a professional opera singer. I've experienced so many incredible things, discovered amazing places, and met amazing new people, learnt from very different cultures, about their habits and languages. And the most important thing for me is that I’ve pursued my vocation, as in Wilhelm Meister's life, that of a brave man full of hope and dreams!
I am more of a solo traveller kind of guy. I just need one backpack and not a lot of luxury. I also like to travel spontaneously, not planning too much and always seeking adventure. Every single new place I've been to has left me so many happy, and some not too happy moments, which are what life is made of – “moments” (maybe I'm being too romantic, but this is also part of being a traveller I think). I do have some places I remember the most, such as Paris, Verbier, Madrid, Cambridge and some beautiful places in my beloved Colombia, such as Tayrona National Park, which is simply a dream experience!
Of course traveling isn’t always fun. I’ve had my share of travel disasters. One I remember only too well is getting food poison after eating a last meal in China the day before taking a twelve-hour flight from Shanghai to Paris, and then having to wait at the Paris airport for six hours for another connection to Madrid. Now that was quite a challenge!
Not being able to travel during the pandemic has been a huge challenge for the opera industry as we know it, but I'm convinced that theatre and opera are an incredible way to unify cultures and countries, as those involved are usually from various nationalities and backgrounds, trying to communicate an aesthetic idea. And that's the most amazing thing about our métier. This meeting of cultures is now facing a major problem due to the travel restrictions, and travelling for me is of course a way to break down socio-cultural boundaries.
I always say that my home now is the world, and that's where I want my journey to take me – everywhere, but with my art and my happiness. So let life surprise me! My next dream travel destination would certainly be the northern lights somewhere in Scandinavia, but I would also love to explore more of Latin America.
Andrés Agudelo, born in Colombia, studied at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia in Madrid with Ryland Davies and Rosa Dominguez and at the Conservatoire Superieur de Paris with Marcel Boone. He also attended master classes with Javier Camarena, Barbara Frittoli and Margreet Honig, among others. Numerous performances have taken him to the Ópera de Colombia, the Shanghai Symphony Hall and the Philharmonic in Paris. Under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel he sang as soloist in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy at the Binational Symphonic Concert in Bogotà. In 2017, he was accepted into the Opera Fuoco opera studio in Paris. The following year he won the Thierry Mermod Prize at the Verbier Festival. In June 2019 he sang Johann Sebastian Bach's B Minor Mass at the Leipzig Bach Festival. Since the 2019/20 season he has been a member of the Opera Studio of the Bayerische Staatsoper.